“Education in New Zealand – Aspiration needs to come from the top”

That is the headline I wholeheartedly believe in a piece I had published on ZB+ yesterday. While it is behind their subscriber service I can be brief here:

Given Erica Stanford’s performance in opposition as spokesperson for Education was stunned and dismayed by this answer she gave recently in the House to former Minister Jan Tinetti.  

“As schools start back for 2024, there will be a relentless focus on lifting student achievement. This Government’s ambitious target of getting 80 per cent of our tamariki to curriculum by the time they finish intermediate by 2030 is our North Star.”

What the minister has clearly stated is that she and the new National government only believe they are capable of improving education in New Zealand over six years to still have one in five Year 8 students failing at basic literacy and numeracy. That is despite each New Zealand child receiving 9600 hours of funded education in eight years of schooling. Her answer is dripping with pessimism and lack of ambition.

If we are truly aiming at a “world class” teaching profession and education system, why do we have a self-imposed limit that we can only get 80 per cent of students even to a moderate level of ability and achievement?

The Minister likes to use the term “Science of Learning”. From her answer in the House she has a lot more to do to understand the true implications of the potential of every human from this field of work. Through looking at the work of people like Carol Dweck, David Eagleman and many more. The following statement should be the government’s “North Star”.

It is not only possible to lift every child – it is imperative. I have seen it done with the right provision.

If the Minister is not highly ambitious – it will be very hard for the sector to be – let alone the students and families.

Alwyn Poole
Innovative Education Consultants

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